modeled many times over the years. The rooms were attractive and had refrigerators and
microwaves for about $50 a night.
To the left of the main lobby there was a museum and a history of the hotel. Antique
phonographs, telephones, typewriters, and an electric fan, all in working order, were on
display. A card labeled each item, noting the manufacturer and the year. The oldest phono-
graph, an 1896 Edison cylinder model, looked new. There was a range of models from
1896 to 1924. A platter replaced the cylinder. The changes seemed so slow, 28 years, still
mechanical, with a big horn sticking out like you see in the His Master's Voice trademark.
There were telephones with cranks, both wall and table-top models. The 1936 Remington
typewriter looked like the one I hammered on in college. I thought of the rapid changes
we've had since the computer-Internet age. I couldn't envision a computer product that
would be the same after three decades.
Then, I found myself at the edge of an inner courtyard. I stopped. It appeared there was a
private party. I learned that it was more than a fiesta.
In Mexico, the Quinceañera (celebration of a girl's 15th birthday) is similar to a Debutante
Ball, but not necessarily an upper-class event. It's viewed as one of the greatest moments
of a young lady's life, and one of the happiest. Weddings are milestones too, but some are
regretted, a Quinceañera, never.
Families sacrifice for the celebration. Often, parents, like soccer moms, or Little League
dads, live the joy through their children.
I had never been to a Quinceañera before that day in Hermosillo.
When I walked into the courtyard of the Kino Hotel, tables, chairs, music and refreshments
were set up. There were fifteen maids of honor, all wearing apricot-colored ballroom
gowns. I hesitated. It looked like a private party. A lady came over to welcome me, think-
ing that I was a guest. “No, I'm just a tourist,” I said, “but is this a wedding party?” The
lady laughed and told me that it was a retirement party for Guadalupe Lopez, who had
worked for the Kino Hotel for twenty-four years.
A young man, who introduced himself as Juan Carlos Jimenez, joined us. He was in charge
of the hotel's tourist packages. He invited me to join the celebration. He led me to a circle
of chairs, introduced me to friends, brought a Coke, and we chatted.